Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Trick Yourself into Doing Your Best Work

I'm constantly playing little mind games on myself  to improve my own performance. I think of the games as magic tricks. I watch for any consistency in the errors I make as that gives me a target area to focus on for improvement.

We've been editing the plus size top down book and these are my latest two tricks.

The first one is to battle my fast reading style. I took speed reading twice in university and it allows me to read lots of material. Not a good thing when you are looking for errors and discrepancies in the written work. I often read the work out loud to myself to catch any awkward phrasing. I set an online timer for 15 minutes and took a break every time it went off even if it was just to stand up and stretch. It was enough to remind me to relax and go slowly.

The second trick relates to my fear of having errors in the patterns. As with all designers this is a constant worry on my part because it leads to so much knitter frustration. We try for perfection but errors can be introduced in so many ways. I decided that finding an error should be treated like a treasure hunt. It should be a positive outcome not a negative and it worked for me. I give myself a little "good job there" and immediately start looking for the next piece of treasure.

What tricks do you use?


  1. As I used to say "An error is an investment in the future". Thank you for sharing

  2. Instead of reading to yourself, try using a text-to-speech program. I was astonished at how many errors I catch when I do that. Your brain will correct errors such as missing or repeated words, but you can't miss them when you hear them. I also found that listening instead of reading seemed to use a different part of my brain. I could consider how things flowed, see places where more or less detail was needed.

    And also, I think sometimes we just need to accept that we require someone else's help. Great fiction authors depend upon their editors to help them bring out the best in their work. They know they can't be objective about their own work, so they don't expect that of themselves. We're programmed to beat ourselves up when we are mistakes, but always remember that to err is human!!